How Should A Farm Respond to a Workplace Injury?

Farms can be dangerous places. Most agricultural operations are in the full swing of a busy spring, which is a good time to review workplace injury protocol. Do you and your employees know what to do if someone is injured in the field or barn? This post provides the basics--contact your attorney for more details. 

  1. Seek medical attention. Call 911 if the injury is serious. Owners or managers should ensure all employees know how to describe the location and layout of the farm to emergency dispatchers. If the injury is not serious, provide immediate assistance as needed and encourage employee to seek medical care as soon as possible.
  2. Chain of command. Employees should contact a designated manager or the owner any time an injury occurs on the job.
  3. Record details. Regardless of your worker’s compensation coverage, records are key. Write a narrative of what happened. Include witness statements (including full names and contact information) and photographs of the area or machinery involved in the injury.
  4. Report. Severe injuries generally must be reported to the state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Report severe injuries requiring medical treatment to your insurance carriers as well.
  5. Cooperate. If you have worker’s compensation or other insurance coverage, cooperate with your carrier and its attorneys. If contacted by an injured employee’s attorney or another entity seeking information about the injury, immediately contact your own attorney to determine whether and how to respond.
  6. Prevent future injuries. Examine the cause of the injury and eliminate future hazards. This can include posting signs of slippery floors or low overhead spaces. It can also include holding safety training meetings with employees who drive tractors or other heavy equipment.
  7. Welcome employee back. Determine whether employee can come back full-time or if modified duties are necessary. Consult your employment attorney if you have questions regarding transitional or return-to-work arrangements.